priorities goal setting
Personal Development

Goal Setting is About Priorities

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Since it’s a new year (and decade), everyone is talking about setting goals like it’s easy.

Easy peasy right? Nah…

It’s difficult to set goals when you’re not even sure what you want out of life. There are plenty of people who flounder around and wing it. For some of those people, that could work. They love the spontaneity and are usually categorized as free-spirited. For the others, however, they would like a bigger purpose in their lives but aren’t quite sure what it may be.

You need priorities. Here are some thoughts on how to get there.

What Do You Want?


To determine what you want, dig deep within yourself.

What is it that you dream about all the time? What kinds of successful people do you read about? Do you want similar success to those people or would you like to model different characteristics of multiple people?

You can also ask your friends and family how they see you, i.e., what type of person they think you are. Then you can determine whether you like that person or if you would like to try and change.

Finding Your Purpose

After you find some kind of defining purpose, you’re not locked in. You’re free to change anytime you believe it wasn’t what you thought it would be. There’s nothing to stop you from having multiple purposes either. If you are a doctor, perhaps you want to become a professional golfer as well.

It’s not just about what kind of career you have. You may define a purpose that includes helping others out in a way that is not at all related to your job. You could find organizations that need volunteers and sign up to help. This often leads people to branch out into areas of their lives they never imagined they would experience. It also sets you up to meet people you otherwise would not. You will see different experiences and viewpoints that can help you with your purpose and priorities

All of This Takes Time…


It’s not easy for people to determine their purpose. It’s not something that’ll happen after an afternoon of soul-searching. It can take a lot of time and often requires going outside your comfort zone to have a better realization of purpose. Sometimes it can be within our reach but we don’t realize it until a life-changing event occurs.

It can also evolve. This fact makes it scary and exciting at the same time. Once we have a good feeling for what we want our purpose to be, we can then proceed to map out goals as to how to achieve it.

That’s why you need to focus on your priorities in life. These will be a better guide in helping you map out your journey.

Write It Down

Start by writing out everything that you feel is important in your life — your priorities. The items can have degrees of importance. You can put a number scale on each one to indicate which are more important than the others. After you have listed out your important items, use the number scale to rate the items. You can choose how you want the scale to be measured, but an easy way to do it is with 1 being the lowest priority to 5 being the highest. You can do this in a spreadsheet so that you can resort after you have done this for all the items.

Sort from highest to lowest.

These are going to be the focal points of your goal setting. You can choose to try and include all the items on your list or you can decide to eliminate any that are below a certain number. Perhaps all items that have a priority of 1 or 2 may need to be dumped for now. That’s up to you. But you do want to make the list as manageable and as meaningful as possible.

Create Mini-Goals

tools priorities goals

For each of the highest priority items, the next step is to figure out what it will take to achieve them. List out high-level mini-goals for each item. You can choose to prioritize these in much the same way, but at this stage of the process, it’s not completely necessary.

Then the Mini-Goal Break Down

The next step is to come up with more detailed tasks for the mini-goals. You can go as far down as you want or you can stop at just one level. It all depends on the type of tasks you come up with. If it’s enough to be defined as a work unit, i.e., a task that you can easily perform, then you probably have gone far enough down. If the item can be broken down into further sub-tasks, then that is the next step.

By using this list-prioritization process, you have a much better chance of containing tasks that are the right ones to meet the objectives of your goals.

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